Vale David Buckmaster

18 Aug 2020

A youthful Bucky in his playing days. Always tucked the collar in


David ‘Bucky’ Buckmaster passed away on 10 June 2020 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

The circumstances under which we are living these days did not allow for people other than Bucky’s family to gather and celebrate his life, which had touched so many of us in very positive ways.

Bucky was a gifted rugby player, a talented musician and a creative artist – and he took part in everything that was going.

He was a great Clubman for his Northern Suburbs Rugby Union Club (Norths), now Uni Norths Owls.  He was one of those rare rugby club human beings who could be relied on to do what he said he would do.

If Bucky said he would turn up for an event, he did – if he said he would go overseas on tour – he did – despite, as Mick Marriott has said, he would probably have been much happier at home in Yass.

As Dave ‘Barney’ Eriksson has said, one of the things that amazed everyone about Bucky was his apparent imperviousness to cold – a theme that tends to be repeated.

He was forever sleeping in his car in the middle of a Canberra winter – or standing by on the side lines for the next game in his shorts and T shirts of many colours.

To quote Ross Skinner: ‘he had a great step, a wicked smile and was always happy to see you’ – and, by ‘you’ – everyone.

David is survived by his loving sister Cate (and Shane) and brothers in Rams’ arms, Steve (and Robyn), Julian (and Nadine); and Uncle Bucky’s nieces and nephews and extended families.

Ernie Nichols and the Canberra Blues Music Scene

Bucky was unique.

He loved his country music, but live music was his passion. I saw his jaw drop in awe many times while watching a great artist.  He would not hesitate to shush up a noisy crowd to ensure that they enjoy the musical experience that was before them – and also to acknowledge the contribution that each and every artist that played before him was making.

Bucky was rough but real and had the knack of pleasing people of all persuasions.

Each January Bucky held a ‘Birthday Bash’ for the Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group. There are a few members of the Blues Society that have January birthdays and for many years Bucky managed to bring together a great line-up of artists all day at the German Club and, later, at the Austrian Club.

It was a ‘must-go’ day and there were some great performances!

We hope as part of Bucky’s legacy that the cancer fund-raising days continue – together with the theme of Hawaiian shirts for the day.
A genuine nice guy who should be immortalised for all and one was struck down way too early!

From the music people:

  • It is with deep sadness we share the news of the passing of David ‘Bucky’ Buckmaster. Bucky was a passionate supporter and promoter of live music in Canberra. He was a Life Member of Canberra Blues Society and will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences to Bucky’s family and friends. Vale our beloved Bucky
  • It is with great sadness, heavy hearts and profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved, David. We know that with Bucky’s passing, there is a hole in our collective hearts. We lost a good one on 10 June 2020.
    • He will be dearly missed by us all – because of his love of life, live music and his cheeky wit, his wisdom and his loving heart.
    • He has left us way too young but we know that his spirit and joy is alive in us all.
    • Our loss is that great stage in the sky’s gain. A hot new bass player has arrived and he’s about to shake things up, up above.
    • And St George is about to get a visit from a long admirer.
    • Rest in peace, brother Bucky 🙏😔
  • #riseabove

Memories from Former Norths’ team-mates

Dave ‘Barney’ Eriksson

‘Bucky on Tour’ – the ‘international test’ V Andorra, 1986

We were in Andorra – the small country/principality nestled high in the mountains between France and Spain.  Their rugby is quite strong and several Andorra players play professionally with clubs in France. Their ‘pro’ players were allowed by their clubs to play the tour game against us.

Bucky didn’t know how skilful a rugby player he was – he never ‘dogged it’ in a game, however he rarely ran the ball like we all knew he could when he played touch at club training.

Mid-way through the second half I called Bucky over to the sideline and said that, from the next lineout (in their 22) he should step their flanker (who had been up off-side all night but the ref didn’t ping him – typical European away game!) – and then burn off the opposition 5/8th with pace.

Bucky was a tad reluctant and said something about the flanker.  I said: ‘You’ve got the best sidestep in the club and you’re a way better player than their 5/8th – so just go for it!’

About 30 secs later Bucky had scored in the international ‘test’ and brought out his ear-to-ear smile that we all know so well.

That’s how I remember him.   RIP mate

The famed Norths Walrus swim . Poster designed by Bucky

Bruce ‘Cookie’ Walker:

I think it was destined to be that I would get to like Bucky right from the start of 1982, when he first came to Norths – after all, we were from the same town – Yass.

He was a delightful character with a permanent grin on his face. During 1982 I was coach of 2nd Grade, which was a team made up of a number of old heads with a strong smattering of new boys to the club, including Russell Ingram, Niall Marshall, Paul Booth, Steve Wise and Bucky of course, to name a few.

While Bucky played a number of 1st Grade games, he spent the majority of the season with me in 2nds.

He had the rather bizarre habit of regularly turning up to training in a tee shirt, shorts and bare feet, despite how cold it was – it never seemed to bother him. He was always heavily involved in the off-field socialising and was a great contributor to the musical skillset of the club.

The 2nd grade usually ended up sitting on the floor of the club, after training on Thursday, in a circle together. This facilitated some round robin drinking games that all and sundry, including Bucky, engaged in with full vim and vigour.

In 1982 second grade fought some close encounters with a number of teams throughout the season. Alas, however, we came to the last round of the season and we had not won a game. The last game was against Easts, who had not lost all season. I decided a new tack was called for and, with the illustrious Captain of the team, Axel, we ended up at the Old Canberra Inn on Friday night until 4am in the morning.

Well, come game time there were some very sorry characters staggering around the dressing shed – and there was no sign of the Captain. He did, however, turn up 10 minutes late with his jock strap on the outside of his shorts.

As nobody in the team was feeling any pain, least of all Bucky, they threw themselves into it. The final score was 6-3 and we had beaten Easts!

Some great memories from those days and Bucky was always there, smiling and being cheeky as usual.

Yep! A credit to his town and the game he loved.

 Ross Skinner

In 1986, the under 16 Australian Rugby Championships were held in Canberra and the QLD Country side was to be billeted by Northies’ families.  However, there was a shortfall of families able to take players and several of the country boys were billeted with the senior players.

Unfortunately for one of the quieter and shyer Queenslanders and future Wallaby, he was billeted in the royal-blue carpeted mansion that was Kerry George’s place, which he shared with me and the one and only David ‘Bucky’ Buckmaster.

Bucky, as most would recall, had a work van that doubled as a convenient bedroom and was parked in various places around Belconnen town on a Friday and Saturday night mostly within walking distance of the club, Captain Gregg’s or the Pot Belly.

Whilst the country boys were in town, Bucky took it upon himself to be the team’s chauffeur and ferried most, if not all, of the team in his van to and from training sessions, to the movies, to their respective billets – in one case that changed on a regular basis but that’s another story – and to late night feeds at the petrol stations and the Doghouse in Braddon.

On the last day of the championships, which the Queenslanders won, the biggest cheer from the country boys was not for their billets but for Bucky.

Many years later, I ran into his former temporary housemate and Wallaby at Sydney airport and I thought I would ask this guy if he remembered the Under 16 Australian Championships and staying at KG’s house with the blue carpet.

The now former Wallaby looked blankly at me and said he didn’t – some things are better forgotten – but he did say that I should look up Bucky when I was next in Canberra and thank him again for all that he did for the Queenslanders.

Bucky was a wonderful person and will always be remembered fondly by many.

1986 on the plane somewhere 

Michael Marriott
“Bucky was a reluctant tourist. Enjoyed himself but always had a keen eye on returning back home. Pretty disappointed he missed the Yass show while he was being forced to order beers in French half way across the world.”

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